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Guidance on Leading Your Team Remotely
How Managers Can Support Remote Employees
What are the top three things that leaders can do to create a good remote culture?
Number one, make sure that team members constantly feel like they know what’s going on. The communication around what’s happening is extremely important. So you’re emailing more, sharing more. Ensure that no members feel like they have less access to you than others. At home, people’s imaginations begin to go wild. So you have to be available to everyone equally. Finally, when you run your group meetings, aim for inclusion and balance the airtime, so everyone feels seen and heard.
How do you measure your employees’ productivity and eventually review them on that work?
To every manager out there: you have to trust your employees. This is an era and a time in which we have to heed Ernest Hemingway’s advice: “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” You can’t monitor the process, so your review will have to be outcome-based. But there’s no reason to believe that in this new environment people won’t do the work that they’ve been assigned. Remote work has been around for a very long time. And today we have all of the technologies we need to not only do work but also collaborate. We have enterprise-wide social media tools that allow us to store and capture data, to have one-to-many conversations, to share best practices, and to learn. (source: Harvard Business Review)
Instilling a Caring Culture
From "A Blueprint for Remote Working" by McKenzie
As we transition to the new normal, it’s important to acknowledge that some employees may be facing other pressures at home, including caring for their children when schools are shut, leading to feelings of isolation and insecurity. Business leaders need to respect and address these additional needs.
Empathy is a crucial tool here, offering a way to connect, promote inclusiveness, and create a sense of community in a void of physical interaction. Increasing social interactions within the team, particularly through one-on-one catchups, guards against feelings of isolation and demoralization and creates space for people to speak up and share their thoughts. By creating a sense of psychological safety for their colleagues, being inclusive in decision making, and offering perspective in challenging moments, managers can stay closer to what is going on, surface issues, and help their teams solve problems effectively.
A similar approach is important when dealing with customers, providing valuable stability and enabling them to navigate unknown waters with confidence. For example, one global bank asked their relationship managers to connect with small-business customers via chat and video-calls to understand their situation and help them weather the crisis. To do so effectively at scale, the managers are supported through dedicated product programs, online articles, scripts for communicating with clients, and internal trainings.
Inclusion is the ultimate show of empathy. Creating outlets for sharing best practices, success stories, challenges, and water-cooler chat is vital to creating a human connection. Giving the employees space to pursue personal or social endeavors, providing a clear span of control, and assigning meaningful tasks can also spur motivation.
The lesson: Connecting on a personal level and instilling the culture of empathy is doubly important when working remotely.
From A Blueprint for Remote Working by McKenzie